Some of the residents of the Ridge Creek subdivision are still dealing with the possibility of unsafe water, having already been doing so for years. After a community meeting on Thursday, August 3, many of them spoke up about their concerns and experiences.
Some, not all, of the subdivision's wells have been on a boil order at various times during the last few years and, as of information obtained by the Daily Guide at the time of the meeting, six of the 22 wells in the subdivision were still on a boil order. Each well has multiple homes connected to it.
It should be noted that efforts are being made to correct the problem and interim receiver, Terry Jarrett, has been appointed by Missouri Public Service Commission to assume control of the subdivision's water and bring it up to safe standards.
Ridge Creek residents were outspoken at the meeting held by the subdivision earlier this month about all the issues they have been facing.
Alexis Martinez, age 25, is one such resident of Ridge Creek. According to Alexis, she bought a house in Ridge Creek in December of last year. During last week’s meeting, she told the Daily Guide that she was not informed of the water situation until well after she had signed the dotted line, leaving her stuck with a house with potentially dangerous water.
“I want to say I’m pretty appalled,” she said. “I’m speechless that everyone knew about this for three years and now I’m paying for something I didn’t know about.”
Martinez said others who knew about the situation should have been proactive about warning people looking into purchasing property in the subdivision.
“They told me I had a leak in the house, that was it,” she said.
Martinez currently lives with her two dogs and fiancé, and its recommended they boil their water before each use. Martinez said for them, this isn’t feasible.
“(Work) isn’t going to let me go early each day to boil my bathing water, to boil my cooking water, to boil my drinking water just to sustain not only my two dogs but my fiancé and myself,” she said. “I’m not going to be provided that time.”
As of the meeting, many Ridge Creek residents had yet to be provided concrete details about which wells they are connected to, and a general boil advisory has been given to many residents. Martinez said she took part of the matter into her own hands and had her well tested professionally. The results from the professional testing and the one performed by the water company provided conflicting results, according to her.
“This is my livelihood,” she said. “They’re telling me everything is dirty and I need to boil it, but then I take it to professionals and they’re saying it’s fine. I don’t know who to believe anymore and now I’m just sitting here with a house that possibly had dirty water…and no one’s going to want this house, no one wants a house with dirty water…I’m a 25-year-old with her first house and now I’m stuck in a black hole that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be fixed.”
While the state of her own well remains uncertain, Martinez shared with reporters that her neighbor was confirmed to be on well seven, one definitely contaminated. Martinez explained that her neighbor’s daughter has been chronically sick, vomiting and experiencing diarrhea as well as skin rashes. Martines said it was originally assumed to be a bug or virus, but it began around the same time as well seven being contaminated.
“It only takes one person…That’s what happens when you bathe in dirty water, you get skin conditions, you get chronic stomach aches, it’s like food poisoning,” Martinez said.
In a follow-up interview, Martinez said she reviewed the paperwork she signed in purchasing her home, and again found no disclosure regarding the state of the water in Ridge Creek. Martinez said she has enlisted the help of a lawyer, and while she is in the early stages of the process, is exploring her legal options. Until then, she is one of the many residents paying an 80% increase in her utility bill while the problem is being fixed.
The Daily Guide is continuing to explore and report on Ridge Creek and will provide further updates on the situation and the stories of the residents.